Heroin is common here in Washington and across the United States. As part of the country’s opioid crisis, many people use heroin after opioid painkillers or to mitigate physical, emotional, and psychological pain. Opioids like heroin can be the most difficult drugs to quit cold turkey. Northpoint Seattle’s Heroin Addiction Treatment program can help.
If you or someone you love is using heroin, know you are not alone. Substance abuse treatment programs such as those at Northpoint Seattle can help you recover with integrative treatment options. Call us now at 425.414.3530 to learn more about our heroin addiction treatment programs.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid made from the opium poppy. Long used for its euphoric effects, opium is processed into opiates like morphine and opioids like heroin, fentanyl, Vicodin, OxyContin, and codeine. Unlike morphine and prescription painkillers, heroin is illicit. Because of this, it’s hard to know what’s in heroin when someone buys and takes it. Today, binders and fillers like fentanyl can reduce the price to manufacture and sell heroin while making it more dangerous.
Often smoked or injected, heroin turns into morphine in the bloodstream. This causes immediate euphoric feelings and stops pain receptors in the brain. Heroin releases high levels of dopamine, increasing its addictive nature. Regular heroin users need to take heroin every 6 to 12 hours to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
History of Heroin
Humans have been using the opium poppy for medicinal and recreational purposes for 5500 years. The ancient Sumerians used the resin from the opium poppy, while Ancient Greeks and Romans used opium to relieve pain.
In the 1800s, scientists began to extract pure morphine from opium. It was the most powerful painkiller ever found, ten times more powerful than opium. In 1874, Charles Romley Alder Wright, a British chemist, first synthesized heroin.
In 1897, Felix Hoffmann synthesized heroin to convert morphine into narcotic analgesic codeine, twice as powerful as morphine. Bayer put the drug on the market with the name “Heroin.” It was named after the German word “heroish,” which translates to English as heroic. Bayer marketed the drug as a non-addictive alternative to morphine and codeine for respiratory illness.
Heroin Abuse and Treatment In Seattle
Many people turn to heroin after developing dependence on prescription opioids. While few people begin opioid use with heroin, they can easily develop an addiction. Signs of heroin addiction include:
- Craving heroin
- Mood swings
- Reckless behavior
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite
- Disinterest in others
The first sign of heroin addiction is withdrawal. When the brain becomes dependent on opioids or other drugs, it relies on them for chemical functions. With heroin, the brain may stop producing its dopamine the more someone uses heroin. When the body goes through withdrawals, a person will experience “dope sickness.” During withdrawal, opioid cravings can make it impossible to avoid relapse with willpower alone. Flu-like symptoms, hallucinations, paranoia, and intense physical pain contribute to dope sickness. Heroin addiction treatment is the safest and most effective way to stop taking opiates and avoid relapse.
Unfortunately, the rise in street fentanyl increases the dangers of a heroin overdose. Today, much of the heroin people smoke or inject is laced with fentanyl, making it more powerful, more addictive, and increasing the potential for overdose.
If you or someone you love is using heroin, call Northpoint Seattle. Our comprehensive treatment programs help people across the city overcome opioid dependence. With a range of programs to meet your needs, Northpoint Seattle is here to help.